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2 John 1:12-13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.
13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.
FACE TO FACE 2 John 1:12–13
Having challenged his readers with the way to walk in Christ, and after warning them against receiving false teachers, he then pens, I have much to write to you, but that he prefers to talk to them in person—face to face (v. 12). Why? He tells them.
Anticipation of Fellowship
Both Paul and John placed incredible value on being with their students and partners in the faith. The times of worship, study, counsel, and enjoying friendships were priceless to them. Times of fellowship in our churches are often fun times, but may lack depth. This is not a criticism; it is hard for any of us to get into a deep conversation at the typical church supper or party. The fact is depth of conversation requires a format and intention that is conducive to meaningful study, sharing, learning, and worship.
The Big Idea of Small Groups
Jesus launched His ministry on earth with what we would call a small group. Such a group is able to develop accountability, intimacy, bonds of respect, and has the opportunity for accelerated learning. In every field of endeavor, the use of groups has proven effective in problem solving, conflict resolution, learning, and bonding of all kinds. John Wesley’s great genius, according to many scholars today, was his ability to mobilize groups for the sake of discipleship development. The Church today would do well to consider how to mobilize groups for the sake of accomplishing our mission.
Fullness of Joy
Once again the concept of completion enters John’s letter as he states he desires that his joy be complete (v. 12). This time, however, it does not relate to perfection, but experience. It is the difference of two loved ones standing on opposite sides of a glass door with hands and faces touching the glass, only a fourth of an inch away from one another, separated by so little distance—able to perfectly see one another—but oh, so far away when compared to physical touch. Writing is fine, but face-to-face is so much better.
The Children Say “Hi”
To conclude his letter, John writes, The children of your chosen sister send their greetings (v. 13) The children of your chosen sister (v. 13) is a strange phrase. The fact that it is the children who send their greetings would tend to confirm the interpretation that the “chosen lady” is a local congregation and the “sister” is another local church and its constituents.
The example of one church helping another sets a good pattern for Christians today. Christians need to help one another live the Christian life with integrity, compassion, and discipline.
John loved the members of Christ’s church. He blessed them by his letter of concern and instruction. Thank God for those who mentor and coach us toward spiritual health and stability. Interdependence is a value that needs to be fostered among Christians everywhere. We must help one other learn faith and practice love. At times, self-protection is in order. Ultimately, we must develop and sustain a strong witness to those still outside of the faith.
By David A. Case and David W. Holdren